Make Your Own Marinara Sauce // Wit & Vinegar

After several failed tomato sauce recipes I had just concluded that I’m not as fabulicious as the tan authentic Italian realhousewifeladyjesus Theresa Giudice. I’m actually quite sure that she could make a decent sauce that doesn’t involve her tanning juices that I’d want to put on a plate of carbs. I had given up a while ago and then just had one of those moments last week where I told myself I have to make something work. I needed to upgrade from basic bitch to like maybe level fabulicious.

After a bunch of research and reading reviews and nixing out the ones that tore my heart out I actually jumped level fabulicious and landed on something way better. The sauce comes from Ina (we go by a first name basis) and the recipe is so insanely easy and fast that I was a little reluctant. I followed it almost exactly minus some salt plus red pepper and the result was insanely good.

The reason I’m bringing you guys something so simple is because I know there are people out there that are in the same fabulous boat that need something for all the breadsticks, aaaand we’re making something really good with it tomorrow. Also, I’m super stoked to start a new Make Your Own situation for the blog where I get to share pantry staples that you should be making yourself to save money or up the quality. I’ve for sure got some vanilla extract goodness coming your way, and we’ve already discussed brown sugar and taco seasoning. After that I’m open to suggestions! Any pantry staples you’d rather make instead of buy?

I’m like an open book/Danielle Staub. I’m not sorry about that.


Marinara Sauce

Adapted from chrispwhiteshirtkitchenjesus Ina Garten

Makes 7 cups

My adaptations are minimal. I doubled her recipe so I could use up more wine, decreased the salt, and give the option for red pepper flakes because sometimes I’m a firecracker.

2 T olive oil

2 c chopped yellow onion*

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 c of the finest $6 Chianti Safeway carries**

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, or plum tomatoes in puree, crushed by your hands.

2 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 t kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes

*1-2 depending on the size. I chopped up 2 and was left with about a cup so that’s hanging out in the freezer for the next batch.

**I don’t drink wine so I looked up suggestions for inexpensive Chianti options and found this Serious Eats article that led me to this wine and it was perfect for the sauce.

Heat up the oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute the onions until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the wine, scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

Cook until wine reduces almost completely, about 10 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes then use an immersion blender to smooth it out just a bit. You don’t want soup, and you can surely not do any blending but I prefer my tomato sauces to not have chunks of anything in them.

Serve on anything your heart desires.

The sauce freezes well so go ahead and throw it in the freezer if you don’t need the full 7 cups. My thing is that the same effort goes into a single batch as it does a double so I doubled Ina’s recipe.

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  • I see this sauce and then you mentioned breadsticks and now all I can think about are those two things, together, as my foods for the rest of my life. I WANT.

    (Also I imagine Ina reading this post and nodding and saying, “How easy is that?” As she does.)

    • hahaha I would like that to happen! Also I should have totally made breadsticks!

  • I know Ina isn’t like us because she’s always like, “Cook with a wine you’d want to drink.” It’s like, no girl, I’m gonna use 2-buck Chuck and DRINK the drinkable wine. I’m glad you Billy-fied this recipe.

    • Gotta do it!

    • ^^^ YES! Please Ina, like I’m going to cook with the good stuff… then it’s gone faster! but she probably doesn’t have to worry about a wine shortage in the Haaaamptons…

  • I love this so much that I’d marry it. And you’re totes a firecracker. Live your life. Yolo.

  • you are hilarious and I want to adopt you. Also, next time I need to make marinara, you’re my guy.

    • adopt me! without facial hair I could probably pull off 17ish.

  • HAHA, I completely forgot about the open book that was Danielle Staub. Please add some mustard sauce to your list.

    • she’s a real treasure. and check to the mustard sauce!

  • God, I love Ina. It makes sense that she would have FOOLPROOF recipe for tomato sauce, right??!?! I’ve, like you, tried a bajillion and five recipes and most of them land somewhere on the scale between “/sigh” and “meh” but I’m totes giving this one a try. For Ina. Maybe I’ll even go into my giant backyard barn kitchen in the Hamptons to make it in true Ina style.

  • I can get down with this sauce over some carbs or anything.. I’m looking forward to your DIY happenings.. and also, thanks for upgrading because “basic bitches” need not ever apply.. I might have a shirt that says that. 🙂

    • I might need a shirt that says that.

  • Your “ingedientses” are all so easy to find and manageable. I love this recipe. I might actually make it tonight. Oh, Danielle, those were the good ol’ days of RHONJ.

    • hahaha I bow down to you for using the Theresa plural form.

  • Straight up, my go-to marinara is from Rachel Ray. You know, from the days when Food Network was everything. But it doesn’t have wine! I bet that really makes things better. Ina knows. I want this and breadsticks right this minute.

    • Who would’ve guessed?! When I made it I gave a taste test and was extremely disappointed that I didn’t have any breadsticks lying around.

  • Sticking to the theme of red, hot, and saucy (aka all the good things in life), I’d love a pantry-staple recipe for Sriracha Sauce to put on my everything. But in the mean time, this less-spicy marinara sounds perfect, especially with a few red pepper flakes.

  • Great job with the recipe! Looks tasty. Ina > Theresa for sure.

    I like to add some dried oregano (fresh is too potent), and fresh (or dried) basil to my tomato sauce. Red wine is something I usually don’t add, but I’m going to give it a try!

  • That Danielle Staub gif should come with a WARNING! You can’t unsee that.
    Things I would like you to home-makify please:
    – an AMAZING barbecue sauce
    – a dry rub for pulled pork (I’m in a barbecue phase)
    – bagels/crumpets/english muffins
    – OH! Noodles. Like, asian noodles. Can that even be done?

    Love your work, good sir.

  • I made this with $6.50 Chianti, and it just wasn’t good.

    Kidding. love ya!

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  • Honestly, we forget how awesome and necessary marinara sauce is. Last week in NYC, I got a stromboli and I specifically asked for a side of marinara to dip everything in – instantly better!

  • oni

    i dont know why i read this intially as marijuana sauce..